From 19 November to 15 December 2021, the Dgroups Foundation partnered with the Digital Agri Hub to support and facilitate an online dialogue on Shaping Digital Agricultural Capacities.

The objectives of the dialogue were to:

  • Fill gaps in knowledge on current capacity building products on D4Ag
  • Identify capacity building needs, gaps and priorities for different stakeholders
  • Shape the possible contribution of the Digital Agri Hub for new capacity building products and partnerships with existing actors
  • Networking and community building as by-product

The dialogue was conducted on the D4Ag discussion group. This space, hosted by the Digital Agri Hub, brings together a very diverse set of stakeholders, such as digital entrepreneurs; agricultural entrepreneurs; individuals and institutions investing in digital agriculture; international development organisations integrating digital solutions into their activities; farmers and agribusinesses deploying digital solutions; and research, policy and decision making bodies who need to understand and keep pace with the development of the sector.

The Dgroups Foundation and associates brought their knowledge and experience of designing and facilitating online events and dialogues.

The dialogue was organised with a mix of ‘live’ online events (a kickoff and closing webinar) and a facilitated and moderated email-based discussion.

The webinars were attended by 126 and 59 participants respectively, the overall feedback was very positive, and appreciative of the participatory design of the events. For the kickoff webinar, 98% of respondents to the session evaluation found the facilitation of the event effective or very effective. 80% found the topics addressed and the exercises conducted during the event relevant to understanding the purpose of the online dialogue.  

The email-based discussion ran for three weeks, with a discussion question posted each week. An important feature to keep the discussion active was the weekly discussion summary, shared at the end of each week. It provided a summary of the emerging discussion topics and issues, in order to document the discussion as it unfolded. The summaries were posted back into the discussion group, and also published on the group wiki pages. As these pages are public they could be shared outside the community members.

An initial database of available D4Ag training products was also produced. The database uses the database feature available on the D4ag community space. It is accessible to community members after logging onto the platform and it has around 100 entries. Entries included were sourced from a survey that the Hub had administered earlier in 2021.

Overall, between the webinars and the e-discussion, the dialogue involved 194 unique participants from 58 different countries and territories. Specifically, the e-discussion recorded 74 contributions over 13 separate discussion threads.